Earmarks: Return of the Swamp Creatures | OpenTheBooks Oversight Report 3_Earmarks2

June 9, 2023 03:50 PM


Read our full oversight report: Earmarks



1. Congress earmarked 7,509 projects for $16,012,272,565 in taxpayer cost in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 (H.R. 2617) signed by President Joe Biden on December 29, 2022. 

mapped each earmark by state across America on our interactive map – just click a pin (state capitol) and scroll down to see the earmarks in the chart beneath the map. 

2. Senate Republicans Go Hog Wild For Earmarks. Seven of the top ten Members of Congress who earmarked the most were Senate Republicans and the top three earmarked $1.656 billion.


3. In fact, Congressional Republicans out-earmarked their Democratic colleagues in 21 states including Texas, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, Maine, and South Carolina.

4. Overall, Democrats earmarked $9.1 billion, Republicans $6.4 billion and a bipartisan group of legislators earmarked an additional $476 million. 

5. The Wheel Of Earmark Fortune included $1 million for the Macadamia Nut Health Intuitive; $2 million for the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum; $3 million to turn Pittsburgh into Hollywood; nearly $4 million for seven buses in Wauwatosa; $5 million to the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds; and $6 million to institutions where their spouses work!

6. Despite new rules prohibiting self-dealing, retiring U.S. Senators earmarked $10 million for institutions to host their archives. Then, at least three of those top earmarking senators sent millions of dollars more on more earmarks to those same institutions (that are already paid to host their archives).

7. Roads, bridges, streets, avenues, and highways rendered only $1.6 billion in earmarks – resulting in only $1 in every $10 earmark dollars. Furthermore, many of the “infrastructure” projects touted by Republicans were phase II or phase III projects. Phase I was funded locally. 

8. Local projects of merit should be funded locally. With earmarks, federal taxpayers paid for $1 million splash pad in Center Line, MI; $2.5 million for landscaping the road medians in La Mirada, CA; $3.6 million for phase II of the Michael Obama trail in Atlanta, GA; $4 million to renovate a theatre in Dallas, TX; and $7 million create a brand new National Korean Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

9. Rich institutions frequently received earmarks. Examples include the Ivy League’s Columbia University ($3 million) with a $13.3 billion endowment; the Field Museum of Chicago ($3.5 million) with assets of $600 million and CEO pay of $1.1 million; and the New York Botanical Gardens whose CEO was paid $1.4 million last year. 

10. Banned for a decade, House Republicans took a secret vote to join Democrats to bring back earmarks. There were 158 Republicans who embraced “the currency of corruption in Congress” – earmarks as a spending tool. 


Back to news
Sign the Petition